Hideo Harada (原田 秀雄 Harada Hideo), also known as Dr. Harada or Harada-sensei, is the head of the Shiranami Society for karuta that Chihaya and Taichi are a part of. He used to teach Arata as well, while Arata was in primary school with Chihaya and Taichi. He taught Chihaya throughout Junior High School and is currently mentor to both Chihaya and Taichi. He is also a medical doctor.
He is a middle-aged gentleman with black hair, bespectacled brown eyes and a wide, wrinkled forehead. He is commonly seen in brown robes whilst in the Shiranami Society, and outside of it in a brown jacket.
Harada Hideo is portrayed as a kind man with a deep and insightful knowledge of the game of karuta. He is the head of the Shiranami Society, which Chihaya and Taichi are a part of, and is their mentor. He states that he teaches his students offensive karuta, which aims to take cards from the opponent's side. He is extremely competitive, whether on behalf of his students or as a competitor himself, or even as a figurehead, representing his karuta society, and is his students' staunchest supporter. He is also prone to dramatics and overexaggeration, as seen by his effusive welcome of the young Chihaya-Arata-Taichi trio into the Shiranami Society early in the series.
Harada instantly became a friend of Chihaya's when she, Arata and Taichi came to the Shiranami Society for the first time. When Chihaya is playing in matches, Harada-sensei's (as she calls him) advices come to her mind. It's also said that Chihaya had been giving him chocolates on Valentine Day but he had rejected them because he is already married.
Taichi met Harada when he came to the society with Arata and Taichi. Because of his long eyelashes, Harada-sensei calls him 'Eyelashes-kun'.
Arata and Harada-sensei competed against each other in the Master/Queen challenger finals, which Harada won. Harada-sensei calls him 'Glasses-kun'.
He is the head of the Suihoku Karuta Society. Kitano and Harada have a rivalry since their youth, and are not on good terms with each other.
Not much is known about Harada's wife. In Chapter 125 she is shown to be supportive but worried about Harada's reckless pursuit of the title, purchasing him a cushion to reinforce his knees.
She is a professional karuta reader. She also has a grudge on Harada, because of what he did when they were younger.
He is the director of the Nagumo Karuta Society, and another of Harada-sensei's longtime rivals. Unlike Kitano, however, Kuriyama has friendly relations with Harada.
At 26, Harada challenged the meijin and lost. After graduating medical school, Harada went to work in Okinawa where there were virtually no karuta players. His next placement was in Hokkaido, where everybody preferred Second Verse Karuta (as played by Akihiro Tsukuba). By the time he established a private practice in Tokyo and practiced again in the Shiranami Society, Harada was 37 years old, and his physical skills had declined.
Harada-sensei's style of karuta is entirely aggressive. He is fiercely competitive, and rather than the cool collect of other players is tenacious in his karuta. It is notable that his closest students share this trait with him, among them Hiroshi and Chihaya of the Shiranami Society.
Techniques & Talents
1 Card Specialist
-This is shown during his match against Suo in Meijin match and also in the Meijin Qualifying match against Arata. When his opponent have only 1 card in his side of the field, Harada become more aggressive to take cards. However , on this occasion , Harada play more toward a defensive style karuta instead of his usual offensive karuta. Well, this works as a combo with his talent to determine the 'joker' card.Sudden Stop Acceleration
-A technique created just to counter Suo Meijin karuta style which forced players to commit faults. By using a stopper to his usual offensive acceleration which take cards using all his might to intimidate the opponent , he managed to just touch the card or keep on swinging his hand without touching the card. Therefore, avoid committing faults.'Joker' Card Detection
-This is what being called superstition of karuta and this particular superstition belongs to Harada. In a match, Harada somehow managed to recognize which card that will never be call. Using this particular talent of his , he would use an offensive type karuta and attack the opponent card and sent the 'joker' card to the opponent. At last , when the opponent only have the last card , it is more likely that card is the 'joker' card. This talent of his is a combo to his 1 Card Specialist technique. *Harada taught this technique to Taichi but it is unsure whether Taichi managed to use it or not*
Superior Hearing (former talent)
-This is something that Harada had when he was a lot younger and fighting for the Meijin title. His hearing was very similar to Chihaya's, showing how good his hearing was when he was younger.
- He is one of Chihaya's fans, being one of the first few people to recognize her natural talent for karuta, the first one being Arata.
- He was implied to have a past rivalry with other teachers, and/or directors of other karuta societies.
- He was mentioned by Chihaya as "Dr. Harada".
- Sudo called him "Intelligent Bear". Akio Kitano just calls him "Bear".
- In the first live action movie, he is the chief priest of a shrine instead of a doctor.
- (To Sumire, on what's so fun about competitive karuta): "That's something you can't know until you've tried it. And you still won't understand after you play. I've been playing for 45 years and I still don't understand. I've never been able to figure it out. That's why I keep playing."
- (To Taichi) "If you concentrate hard enough and practice with full dedication for a long long time, your gut feeling starts telling you what card won't be read."
- (To himself) "Some people think the act of investing efforts, trying your best is more precious than the result. But for mentors as well as their pupils, that approach feels bitter. 'I did my best', 'the fight was close'... words like that blow past and die out like a wind. Only the result is a stone. The stone you can reach by doing your best."
- (To himself) "The ocean is blue and all, but there's no one here I can practice with!"
- (To Taichi) "Luck of the Draw is not about luck or fate at all."
- (To Taichi) "Those who have help are bound to get stronger!"